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Freight Link cash must stay in Perth: RAC

The RAC has warned the Fed-eral Government it must channel the $1.2 billion promised for the axed Perth Freight Link into other vital infrastructure projects across the city.

Lobbying members of the Government frontbench and the Prime Minister’s office, including Transport Minister Darren Chester, the RAC is pressing Malcolm Turnbull to give an ironclad commitment to leave the freight link cash in WA.

The McGowan Government has stopped work on the freight link in line with its election promise and wants the money allocated by Canberra to go into projects of its own.

The Turnbull Government says the money is only for the freight link but the Prime Minister has opened the door for projects such as Metronet to get Federal cash.

RAC chief Terry Agnew. Picture: Danella Bevis/The West Australian
RAC chief Terry Agnew. Picture: Danella Bevis/The West Australian

RAC Group chief executive Terry Agnew said WA should not be short-changed on important transport infrastructure.

“The $1.2 billion the Federal Government committed for the Perth Freight Link must stay in WA. It should be reallocated to the transport infrastructure the State desperately needs,” Mr Agnew said.

“West Australian motorists are already paying more than their fair share and increasing revenue from fuel excise continues to flow to Canberra.

“The Federal Government needs to address the infrastructure gap and the funding deficit facing WA.”

Separate research by the RAC suggests the State is already being short-changed on road funding.

In the 2015-16 financial year, the Federal Government collected $2.4 billion in fuel excise from WA drivers but returned just $1.1 billion in Federal road funding.

Over the past five years, the total shortfall between what WA drivers have paid in fuel excise and got back in road funding is more than $1.5 billion.

Work on the controversial project has been suspended.

Mr Agnew said the State’s economy was suffering from the shortfall between what drivers paid and what was returned to the State.

“If WA had received even half of what motorists paid that year, an extra $360 million could have been invested in important transport projects like the extension of the Thornlie passenger rail line to Cockburn Central,” he said.

“If it was received back every year, it would buy another 12km of passenger rail line annually.”

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